Abacus Racing announced today that North Carolina native Laci Ferno will join their team of drivers in 2023 as part of a newly formed development team. The “Abacus Racing Women’s Development Team” will begin competition in 2023 with the goal of that car being completely staffed by women no later than the end of 2025 racing season.
Brent Cox, Team Principal of Abacus Racing, had this to say, “This is something very important to me. I believe that women play a vital role in motorsports, and I would like to see more involvement at this level. In my experience in motorsports, I have had the pleasure of working with so many talented women.”
The team, which plans to race under the number 59, will drive select races in the 2023 Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series and POWRi National Midget Series, with the goal of also participating in a few USAC National Midget races.
Continued Brent Cox, “This announcement will be the first of many steps to having this car be completely women run and managed. From the team manager, crew chief, support crew, and driver of the car, the goal is for it to be 100% women. This could include an entirely separate truck and trailer that would be driven by a woman.”
Ferno, 18-years old, will be the newly formed team’s first driver. The Mooresville, North Carolina native is entering her 5th year of racing and has previous racing experience in Outlaw Karts and Micros, as well as 2 starts in 2022 in the POWRi National Midget Series. She is excited to get more opportunities in a midget.
Said Ferno, “I want to keep working to advance my racing career. I had been following Abacus Racing for a while and I am very happy to be able to drive for them. I think this team will give me the experience I need.”
It was Ferno reaching out to Brent, along with a well-timed Podcast that gave him the idea to form the team.
Continued Brent Cox, “I was traveling in my car, and listening to an episode of The Loudpedal Podcast and they had Lacey Doyle (Car Chief for RMS Racing) on there. I just loved her story and I had been in initial discussions with Laci (Ferno) at around the same time. Both stories were based on development and opportunity. That was the genesis for the team.”
Brent continued, “When I first talked to Laci, it is a story that is echoed a lot in motorsports. A driver hungry to do more, to go faster, to get results. They just need the opportunity. I have worked with drivers, executives, owners, and mechanics at all levels of The Road to Indy and INDYCAR, and the primary thing you need is the opportunity to match the drive and desire. Laci had the drive and I really liked that.”
To find women to crew the car is a challenge that Brent looks forward to. His current crew are excited at the opportunity to do what they can to locate and mentor this crew over time. It provides a challenge and an education that many women may not realize is even there.
“When you look at a dirt car, they may look unsophisticated to those who don’t truly understand just how technical these cars are. It takes a tremendous about of talent to set these cars up and to drive them at their maximum level,” continued Brent.
As part of the process, the team also plans to have a team advisory board made up entirely of women. The goal is to take the expertise of that board, along with current Abacus Racing ownership and management, to identify all the ways to make this truly a development team covering all aspects of what the team needs to be successful: marketing, social media presence, media training, technical issues, financial management, sponsorship procurement and activation and on-track success.
“This is an initiative I think can have a major impact on the sport,” continued Brent Cox.
Initial sponsors for the team, advisory board and planned races will be released later.
Abacus Racing is headquartered in Indianapolis, IN.